On Encrypted Messaging Platforms

August 26, 2020 10:00 am to 11:00 am

Join the Cyber Policy Center on August 26th, at 10 a.m. pacific time, for a look how governments around the world are pushing to ban strong encryption. The talk will feature speakers Sam Woolley, Riana Pfefferkorn and Mathew Baum as they explore the different policy issues being used by governments to justify their agendas. This event is open to the public, but registration is required.


Matthew A. Baum (Ph.D., UC San Diego, 2000) is the Marvin Kalb Professor of Global Communications and Professor of Public Policy at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government and Department of Government. His research focuses on delineating the effects of domestic politics on international conflict and cooperation in general and American foreign policy in particular, as well as on the role of the mass media and public opinion in contemporary American politics. His research has appeared in over a dozen leading scholarly journals, such as the American Political Science ReviewAmerican Journal of Political Science, and the Journal of Politics. His books include Soft News Goes to War: Public Opinion and American Foreign Policy in the New Media Age (2003, Princeton University Press), War Stories: The Causes and Consequences of Public Views of War (2009, Princeton University Press, co-authored with Tim Groeling), and War and Democratic Constraint: How the Public Influences Foreign Policy (2015, Princeton University Press, co-authored with Phil Potter). He has also contributed op-ed articles to a variety of newspapers, magazines, and blog sites in the United States and abroad. Before coming to Harvard, Baum was an associate professor of political science and communication studies at UCLA. 

Riana Pfefferkorn is the Associate Director of Surveillance and Cybersecurity at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society. Her work focuses on investigating and analyzing the U.S. government's policy and practices for forcing decryption and/or influencing crypto-related design of online platforms and services, devices, and products, both via technical means and through the courts and legislatures. Riana also researches the benefits and detriments of strong encryption on free expression, political engagement, economic development, and other public interests.

Dr. Samuel Woolley is a writer and researcher. He is an assistant professor in the School of Journalism and in the School of Information (by courtesy) at the University of Texas at Austin.  He is the program director of propaganda research at the Center for Media Engagement at UT. Woolley's work focuses on the ways in which emerging technology are leveraged for both democracy and control. He is the author of the book "The Reality Game: How the Next Wave of Technology Will Break the Truth" (PublicAffairs), an exploration of how tools from artificial intelligence to virtual reality are being used in efforts to manipulate public opinion and discusses what society can do to respond. He is the co-editor (with Dr. Philip N. Howard), of the book "Computational Propaganda" (Oxford University Press), a series of country-based case studies on social media and digital information operations. 

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